Worrying is part and parcel of being a parent. From the moment you feel the joy of becoming pregnant, you begin to care for someone more than anything in the world, and it’s natural for us to worry.
Last night, I met online with a group of beautiful ladies and we worshipped and read the Bible together. We considered Philippians 4:6-8.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
I love this Bible passage.
It came to the part where we all asked for prayer requests. Mine was easy. I worry about my kids—from the moment I wake to the moment I put my head down to sleep.
I worry about my ten year old and how quiet he is. Will he ever be able to just speak to people, how will he do in job interviews, why can’t he just talk naturally? I worry about my nine year old, being so small, will she be okay in life? I worry about my very passionate seven year old, Thomas, who approaches life like he’s jumping out of the plane first before checking if he has a parachute (When the triage nurses at Monash Medical say things like, “Ah! You again!” you know he’s been in and out a fair bit).
Then Mel, one of the beautiful ladies, asked this question. “Belinda, what is true, honourable, just, pure, lovely and commendable… about your kids?”
And I felt this shift happen in my brain as I thought. Because sometimes we focus so hard on the things that they seem to be lacking we put on the back burner the things that are good. Because the good things are already good, they don’t need our focus. Or do they?
The Bible says in Philippians 4:8 to focus on what is true, what is honourable, what is just, what is pure, what is lovely and what is commendable. To do this is quite a shift in our thinking but it brings about a positivity we may not let ourselves realise.
I realise that my ten year old is the best listener. He cares so much for those whom he calls family and friend. He is the most loyal person and I could spend hours with him just being in his company doing nothing. He is also the hardest worker I know because life wasn’t so easy for him at the beginning. Learning how to read was hard, learning to talk to people is hard. And because it’s hard, he has learnt to work hard in everything, and survive. He is exactly who he should be.
I realise that my nine year old daughter is exactly who I prayed for. I have a gentle, kind, demure, happy, bright, joyful little girl who is full of love for those around her. She loves little kids and babies, she loves everything that brings joy to the world and she won’t hesitate to spend time making someone happy if they aren’t filled with joy. She will also hug you unexpectedly and shower you with attention if she calls you friend. She loves me with a complete abandon and what a bond we have.
I realise that Thomas is the most resilient person I know. He will be the kid who starts a business at twelve and realises at sixteen that maybe he needs to start paying tax on his earnings before he gets in trouble. He is the kid that will do anything for a laugh and wants to grow up to entertain people. But most importantly, he is the kid who will, and has, survived everything in life.
See, when I think about worry now, I think about the things that are quite minor in comparison to what Thomas has already been through; to what I have already been through.
When I was pregnant with Thomas, we were told that he would not survive, and if he did, he would probably be in hospital for two years and not survive that. And if he did survive that and get out of hospital, he would have tubes to help him breathe, to help him eat through his intestine, and that he would not have a working urinary system. He was only thirteen weeks along. I found out on my birthday I was carrying a very sick child. My child.
The next few months were so difficult, as we battled with the thoughts of what life would be like. I already had two very young children who still needed me desperately, how could I spend days and months in hospital away from them to be with this baby? Would this baby suffer? Would we?
But then the most beautiful moments also came from this time of despair.
After putting our little girl to sleep every night, I would stay in her very dark and quiet room and just cry. I felt too broken to pray. The word was brought to me by a beautiful person who was part of an intercessory prayer group at Crossway, praying for our dear baby. She gave me Philippians 4:6-7.
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I felt the love and prayer power of this group, my friends and family, praying for our little baby. And during these dark times, whilst waiting in that room as I watched my little girl go to sleep in her cot, I felt a peace that covered me with warmth, security and love. It was incomprehensible to feel this way. My baby was still so broken, and life would seemingly never be normal again. But I felt God saying that no matter what, everything was going to be okay. Whether this child passes away, or if he survives and needs to be in hospital, I’m here. And I will hold you, and be with you, and I will never leave you.
For most of you who know me, you know the end of this amazing miracle story. Thomas is amazing, he’s here and he’s healthy.
But that’s not the focus of this story.
The focus is that no matter what we are going through, God’s peace CAN surpass all our understanding. He can give us a peace that blankets over our worries. He will hold you and never let you go. We just have to stop the worry, and give it all to Him in prayer.
You are the most precious creation on God’s earth. Give all your worries to Him and I pray that His peace will cover you, as you trust in Him.
Crossway Children and Families Pastor